On Wednesday, I will head over to an elementary site in my district to give a one-hour session on Project-Based Learning (PBL). I am thrilled for the invitation and the opportunity to initiate conversations on how technology can support teachers in taking student learning to new levels.
Within a 60-minute limit, my goal is to make clear that Common Core Standards are “the what” and PBL is “the how,” with technology there to help fuel the scope and impact of authentic learning.
My slideshow presentation walks teachers through the definition and some sample best practices, gleaned mainly from Edutopia. My goal for the remainder of the school year is to replace Edutopia best practices with PBL samples from my district.
I’ve included my notes in the slideshow – again crediting Suzie Boss, Ginger Lewman and BIE for much of my narrative.
If you have resources, samples, or activity ideas (appropriate for a 60-minute workshop), I hope you will jump into the conversation and leave a comment.
From the the PBL Camp wiki and the Twitter and Elluminate sessions, along with the Teachers Teaching Teachers weekly Skypecasts, and few Google searches, I’ve gleaned some great resources to help jump start classroom discussions, research, and projects on the oil spill:
From Free Technology for Teachers, see what the oil spill would look like it were in your backyard – If It Was My Home
Starting today, I’ll be putting some time and energy into the Voices on the Gulf project. I’ve learned never to say “no” to an invitation to work with Paul Allison, Chris Sloan, and Kevin Hodgson. Over the past five years, I’ve connected teachers in my district and region to a number of innovative, technology-enhanced NWP projects – always with the same result: students are empowered by opportunities to connect with students in other locations around issues they genuinely care about.
If you are looking for ways to connect with other teachers and classrooms around specific or general topics, issues, and questions surrounding the oil spill, I encourage you to join the Voices on the Gulf community. I’ll be working mainly with the Our Voices (K-6) channel for Voices on the Gulf, and I already know it will rock your students’ worlds because I’m teaming with Kevin Hodgson, whose expertise in teaching the new writing continues to inspire – and push (in a good way) – all who work with him.
And if you have additional oil spill resources to add to those I’ve posted, please jump in with a comment!
How do we justify project-based learning (PBL) in a test-driven climate? I’m sitting in a session with Jane Krauss and Sylvia Martinez, who are discussing the reality that you have to make some adjustments to your curriculum in order to fit PBL into your curriculum. Fact: Thinking takes longer than multiple choice. Fact: “PowerPoint does not a project make” (Jane).
So how do you translate authentic assessment to measurable numbers? “You can do it; it just takes a little longer” (Sylvia). But since we tend to teach the way we were taught, how to we change our ways? Idea: have a tech-using, PBL-oriented teacher come demo a lesson using another teacher’s students – with that teacher in the room as an observer – who will no longer be able to say “Oh, my students could never do that.” This model = “embedded professional development.”
How do we provide the evidence (research)? Start blogging your classroom practice. Blogging = self-reflection and … action research.